Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

There’s always room to paint over.


Chicken Little

Chicken Little

Standing in front of my easel, staring at a blank canvas, or one I’ve decided to keep painting into, can be daunting. In fact, it can be downright scary!

I come to the canvas with an idea, a thought, a visual expression I want to make manifest, and always, my critter mind gets going like crazy!  Forget it. Stop it. Don’t bother. Nope, too scary. Nope, you aren’t an artist.

To move through the critter’s nattering I must take action. Get into action. Get going. I must make the first mark of paint, and then the second, and third and keep putting paint onto the canvas without letting the critter’s voice take hold.

And, with each stroke of paint, with each breath I take, the fear subsides as I move into the sacred space of creating for the sake of creating.

Tamara joined me in the studio last night and at one point she commented how much she loves to create with no agenda.

The underpainting A landscape I didn't like that I'd already working into once too often by adding a whole bunch of green trees in the foreground (don't have a photo of that version - it was not pretty!)

The underpainting
A landscape I didn’t like

It is in that space, that limitless and liminal space of creating without an agenda that magic happens, wonder awakens, awe invades. In that space, there is no critter’s voice telling me to Stop it. Or yammering about my limitations. There is only me and the muse. Me and the process of being present in all my senses, without judgement.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the critic has a role to play in the creative process. The original painting that forms the underpainting for Chicken Little was not pleasing me. The photo I shared is phase one. I don’t have a photo of phase two because it was quite ugly. I’d added a whole bunch of dark green trees in the foreground and the mass of them was disappointing! I was undecided as to where to go with it, what to do when I came upon a technique of painting random designs onto a background, and then, blocking out what was not needed and leaving the ‘desired’ elements exposed.

Letting go of fear, I decided to try it. What did I have to lose? A painting I wasn’t too happy with anyway?

And that’s where the magic, and the fun, happened.

In painting over, in fearlessly letting myself be one with the canvas, I found a new and fun way to work, and a piece I really like.

Just like life. when I’m stuck in thinking there’s only one way to do it, one thing to do, I am limiting my focus to the known, to the visible.

When I let go and relax, breathe into each moment and allow myself the grace of experimentation, of simply being present, miracles happen!



Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

14 thoughts on “There’s always room to paint over.

  1. Beautiful in all ways, Louise. And thank you for this miracle, this morning.


  2. LG

    Perhaps ‘painting over’ is not far removed from ‘not reliving’ a bad experience, but getting over it, getting beyond it … something that happens to most of us when we have an experience with some deja vu about it. Rather than embrace a new opportunity, we let that past experience cloud our experience and mess with the moment

    Yes you are a painter. Use a brush, or a roller, or a pen. You paint pictures. I’m sure you could paint a garage too.

    Maybe you should list that on your business card; after your degree, your title, add Writer, Painter

    And I realize that many painters prefer to be called ‘Interior Decorators’ … that could fit too, because you are painting the interior of your mind ..

    Happy Monday,



  3. I think Mark kind of said what I wanted to… Art is so metaphorically connected to our souls. I used to hear how much my characters reminded people of me. It was always funny to me cuz I never saw it. But same with you. I see your pieces as beautiful and not abstract, but with a signature all of your own! You KNOW you have something special when people can recognize your art from all the other pieces out there! And say ahhh that is a Louise Gallager! I am sure of it! 😀


  4. You’re giving me such inspiration for my upcoming painting adventure. Chicken Little put such a smile on my face this morning.


  5. Aw, I love this Louise. I’m also a painter and it has taken me many years to relax into it. When I first started I was too self critical. Yes, that voice has a place but it shouldn’t be there the whole time. Letting go is key. Your pieces are lovely!!


  6. Like writing. Always another blank page or screen! That’s the scary part!


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